Digital Rights Management Vendor Extends Reach

SAN FRANCISCO (08/29/2000) - U.S. digital rights management specialist ContentGuard Inc., known for its work in the electronic books space, Tuesday made good on its commitment to broaden its reach to cover other media.

ContentGuard's software enables content owners to both protect their intellectual property as well as provide them with a variety of ways in which users can to access the content, be it timed delivery or snapshots of the content, such as one chapter from a book or a single song from an album.

The company will be working with e-Vue Inc. to take the basic ContentGuard platform and embed it into e-Vue's compression system for video and distribution, according to Ranjit Singh, ContentGuard president and chief operating officer.

E-Vue specializes in providing MPEG-4-compliant streaming media for the delivery of still images, video and audio over the Net. Product including ContentGuard should be out before the end of the year, Singh estimated.

ContentGuard is likely to announce some key audio partnerships within the next four to six weeks, Singh said.

"It has always been our strategy to work with multiple formats and multiple OSes," Singh said in an interview with IDG News Service here at the Seybold publishing conference.

ContentGuard also announced Tuesday that the upcoming release 1.3 of its eponymous software, due out early in the fourth quarter of this year, will support Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris operating system as well as Microsoft Corp.'s Windows OS. Having an industry partner like Sun is important as ContentGuard moves into the entertainment industry, Singh said.

The company is "toying with" supporting Linux, particularly given the backing the open-source OS has already received on the server side from the likes of Dell Computer Corp. and IBM Corp., according to Singh. "As demand builds up in the industry, our platform can be ported very quickly wherever (needed)," he said.

ContentGuard, formerly the Xerox Rights Management division, was spun out of Xerox Corp. in April of this year. Both Xerox and Microsoft Corp. own stakes in ContentGuard and are also key partners for the digital rights management player. [See "Microsoft Invests in Xerox E-commerce Spin-off," April 27.]In order not to be left out of the value chain, "publishers need to provide more value-added services, they need flexible and open business models," Singh said.

With that in mind, ContentGuard launched Tuesday an eBook practice aimed at online bookstores and publishers. The practice encompasses a range of services including the ability to completely outsource a company's eBook distribution process, Singh said. The practice, part of ContentGuard's recently set up consulting services division, also features a consultancy operation to assist Net bookstores and publishers in both establishing and managing their eBook businesses.

Microsoft has chosen ContentGuard as its preferred eBook consulting practice, Singh said. ContentGuard is likely to establish other practices in the areas of video and audio in time, he added.

ContentGuard, based in McLean, Virginia, can be reached via the Internet at http://www.contentguard.com/. More information about Seybold San Francisco 2000 is available via the Internet at http://www.seyboldseminars.com/.

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